This latest missive — again addressed to Europe — presents an opportunity for a moment of clarity: It should raise the expectation that Muslims in Europe declare forthrightly whether they stand with or against bin Laden in his condoning a violent response to twelve drawings. “Usama bin Laden Criticizes Europe for Anti-Islamic Cartoons, Vows Reaction,” from the Associated Press:
CAIRO, Egypt “” Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden addressed the “wise men” of the European Union in a new audio message late Wednesday, slamming the publication of drawings insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and vowing a strong reaction.
The message, which appeared on a militant Web site that has carried Al Qaeda statements in the past and bore the logo of the extremist group’s media wing al-Sahab, showed a still image of bin Laden aiming with an AK-47.
A voice believed to be bin Laden’s described the attacks of the Europeans on women and children but said these “paled (in comparison) when you went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings, this is the greatest misfortune and the most dangerous.”
The tape was posted less than a week after the Danish intelligence service said the reprinting of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad had brought “negative attention” to Denmark and may have increased the risk to Danes at home and abroad.
More from CNN:
(CNN) — A new statement attributed to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden condemns European countries for siding with the United States in Afghanistan and for allowing the publication of cartoons considered insulting to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed.
“This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and the reckoning for it will be more severe,” the speaker in the five-minute audio recording says.
The identity of the speaker could not be independently determined.
However, a radical Islamist Web site reported earlier Wednesday that a statement from bin Laden was coming shortly.
The notice appeared on Al-Ekhlaas, known for carrying statements and videos from al Qaeda and its allies.